Monday, October 15, 2012

military endorsements of politicians

The Center for a New American Security has a report just out examining the influence of military endorsements of candidates. The CNAS press release summarizes the findings:

  • Military endorsements may benefit Democratic candidates more than Republicans by dispelling historical notions that Democrats are not strong on defense issues.
  • The extent to which military endorsements damage a candidate's campaign is modest enough that such warnings can be ignored.
  • However, endorsements may produce troubling effects regarding public views of the military. The survey provided some evidence that endorsements and politicization may undermine confidence in the military as an institution over the long term.
Ultimately, the authors conclude that "military endorsements are just attractive enough for campaigns to use them, yet not so attractive that it is impossible to think they would ever stop." They argue in support of those like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey who would seek to eliminate military endorsements in presidential campaigns, and suggest steps that campaigns can take to help establish a taboo against these endorsements.

Sounds reasonable to me. There's a real danger if the people view the military as a partisan force, and it's not correct to say that retired generals aren't really treated as spokesmen for the active force.

No comments:

Post a Comment